“It’s greed my friends”: Boris Johnson says Britain left the EU behind Covid vaccines out of self-interest … but later apologizes and insists he “regrets” the remark
- Boris Johnson spoke during the committee’s private session in 1922
- He said, “The reason we have the vaccine successful is because of capitalism …”
- But the Prime Minister repeatedly urged MPs to “forget” he said so
Boris Johnson risked igniting the EU ranks last night by joking with MPs that Britain got the bumps “for greed”.
In an online meeting with Tory Backbenchers, the Prime Minister welcomed “Big Pharma” for the rapid manufacture of vaccines.
He said at a private committee meeting in 1922, “The reason the vaccine is so successful is capitalism, my friends’ greed.”
He later added: “Actually, I regret saying it” and repeatedly asked MEPs to “forget that I said that”.
Boris Johnson (pictured getting his poke) risked igniting the EU series last night by joking with MPs that Britain got the pokes “for greed”
A Tory source said reports of the joke “misrepresent his views,” adding that he continued to praise AstraZeneca, which does the trick on a nonprofit basis.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister also said: “They were huge companies that wanted to offer good returns to shareholders.
“It was powered by big drug companies – and I don’t just mean the Chief Whip.”
Chief Whip Mark Spencer was previously a farmer.
His comments were at odds with those he had earlier made at the Downing Street press conference when he tried to strike a conciliatory note.
Mr Johnson also pointed out that AstraZenca was making the vaccine at cost and thanked the company for its work (French President Emmanuel Macron pictured himself talking to people waiting to be vaccinated).
Patients are waiting to be vaccinated against Covid-19 during a vaccination campaign in France
“We don’t believe in blockages of vaccines or vaccines,” he said at the time.
“This country would not dream of that. We will continue to work with European partners to carry out the vaccine rollout.”
The Prime Minister said he was “encouraged” by the stance of EU capitals to find a solution.
Mr Johnson also indicated that AstraZenca manufactured the vaccine at cost and thanked the company for their work.